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I'm interested to see the process broken down into steps preferably using Theravada theory, all in the context of a summarized "how to".

This would range from trying meditation, through all the stages of insight, enlightenment, into and through any other stages, and into Buddhahood, assumably hundreds or more lifetimes from now. What are the stages?

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I think you are asking for a summary of the Visuddhimagga by Buddhaghosa. It is a step by step manual for going from here to enlightenment. Ref: – MatthewMartin Sep 1 '14 at 15:34
You are looking for "The Stages of Insight" leading to Awakening (and fractally repeating itself until Complete Enlightenment). The various classes of immortals would also be interesting for you to read, found in the Surangama Sutra. – Ahmed Sep 30 at 22:05

6 Answers 6

The Buddhist path is the Noble 8 Fold Path which is divided into

  1. Morality
  2. Mastery over the mind
  3. Wisdom

(Three fold training.)

You should start by leading a moral life, develop mastery over out mind without being a slave to it, then practice Vipassana gain Wisdom. This intern helps you strengthen you morality and so on and so forth.

In addition you have to practice the Perfections to become Enlightened.

Practicing the Perfections and walk on the Noble 8 Fold Path you will slowly but surely progress towards enlightenment. If you want to be a Buddha the Perfections you have to full fill are greater. Also in practicing Wisdom you have to stop before you reach the 1st stage of sainthood.

In addition you have to be ware of the Dependent Origination, Three Marks of Existence, 4 Noble Truths, Factors of Awakening, in order to make you pratice of developing wisdom fruitful and well directed.

The following book might be also useful as further reading:

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You don't follow someone else's instructions to become a Buddha. That even goes against the definition. :) Buddhavamsa contains a nice description about Paramitas. You can cultivate the mind according to that, but there's no guarantee that you will reach the goal until your aspiration is verified by another Buddha. Maithriya Buddha is the last Buddha to appear before the world ends. Then many eons will pass by where there will only be Pacceka Buddhas. So you would have to wait for an indefinite long period, if you want to become a Buddha.

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Great answers everyone, Thanks. – A Nonimous Sep 2 '14 at 2:15

Instead of taking second hand opinions I suggest you got directly to the source, to the instructions given by the Buddha himself. The Dantabhumi Sutta is a discourse with a great narrative and fully outlines the training taught by the Buddha to reach enlightenment. Here it is:

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Thanks! and in october i'll be doing just that... going to stay at a monastery for an open ended length of time. I'll also keep the sutta you mentioned handy, thanks again. – A Nonimous Sep 3 '14 at 14:12

While enjoying ever increasing space between thoughts, experience an unspeakable truth that pervades all that exists. The undivided dimension of reality. Practice a good nights sleep. Show up.

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Welcome to Buddhism SE! Can you elaborate on this, so it better answers the OP's question? – THelper Sep 2 '14 at 5:25

You become a buddha eventually by being yourself, your joyful self. A self that does not tilt between joy and sorrow and that is even. That looks on events passing by, as a bystander stands on the river bank impassively looking at the flow of the river but not flowing with the river. Practice, practice and practice till you become the enlightened one even when being in Samsara.

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Buddhahood can be viewed as what is left when you purify/rip the veils covering the mind since time immemorial. The term path doesn't mean that a distance is there to be crossed, but describes a purification process. "The first obscures the aspect of the purity of the dharmakaya.

The second obscures the aspect of its being true self. The third obscures the aspect of its being true happiness, and the fourth obscures the aspect that the dharmakaya is of true permanence. The cause that purifies these veils consists of the four qualities of the path, which are outstanding devotion towards the sacred Dharma and so on, that is, the perfection of discriminative wisdom, immeasurable samadhi, and great compassion."

From The Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra by Arya Maitreya/Jamgon Kongtrül Lodrö Thayé/Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

The term Dharma, how I understand it, means "what truly is, inside you and outside you"

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